“I’ve stood there myself and, in my eyes, just to take one means you are a hero. The silence that descends in the stadium is epic. Your legs are starting to shake and you’re like ‘come on umpire, blow the whistle’. But they all still do it.”
With adrenaline still surging through the England captain, this was Kate Richardson-Walsh’s assertion on those who avoided wobbly legs following her side’s slender win – after succumbing to a late goal and then surviving a shoot-out – over New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games women’s semi-final eight years ago in Glasgow.
Yet England were still 24 hours away from a match which had a seismic role reversal. Leading 1-0 in the final, Australia – those dastardly then world No.2 Hockeyroos – equalised with 16 seconds to spare, the penalty corner pinging about in the D for six seconds before passing Maddie Hinch. It was the last strike in anger of normal time.
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